Cynthia Woodman Kerkham
from "You Came Home"

Because you had trouble speaking Japanese
after thirty years of living there.  Because
hope is a tyrant and salt water a kind of blood.
Because they’d done everything they could
and your sister had prepared a bed
in her island living room where clouds
smudged the windows, pillowed
the distant hills.  Because your sister
could talk about funerals, and
your husband did not leave his work.  Because
your mouth was last—bread, please,
peaches, a slice of pear—
and your stomach had become a shy animal.